By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
Reckitt Benckiser (RB) Nigeria, makers of leading Antiseptic brand, Dettol and the Federal Ministry of Water Resources have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to partner on a national campaign to achieve a cleaner and healthier Nigeria.
The MoU for the campaign tagged the ‘Clean Naija Initiative’ was signed in Abuja on Thursday.
The signing ceremony which was attended by the Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Suleiman Hussein Adamu alongside other top officials of the Ministry, also had in attendance the leadership team of RB Nigeria, health professionals and members of the press.
Speaking at the event, the Minister expressed his delight and enthusiasm for the campaign, stating that “With this partnership between RB Nigeria and the Federal Government, we hope to build a greater level of awareness and achieve behavioural change amongst Nigerians, such that will lead to more hygienic practices and ultimately, a healthier population.”
It would be recalled that recent reports have placed Nigeria amongst the top nations that bear a significant portion of the global disease burden and high under-5 mortality rates. Many of these diseases, such as diarrhoea can be prevented by proper hand washing habits and wide scale hygiene education. This is a major motivation for the setting up of the Clean Naija Initiative.
Speaking earlier, Mr Dayanand Sriram, General Manager, RB West Africa, said the Clean Naija Initiative was developed as an all-inclusive campaign with various levels and phases aimed at creating awareness, education and driving behavioural change to achieve a cleaner and healthier Nigeria.
“Our clear objectives are: to reduce diarrhoea related child mortality in Nigeria in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of 2030, to reduce Malaria related deaths in Nigeria, and to reduce open defecation menace in Nigeria.”
He added that RB Nigeria, through the Dettol brand, has over the years developed a number of programmes committed to tackling public health and hygiene issues.
He said some of the programmes included: The School Hygiene Program, through which RB has educated over seven million children on proper hand hygiene habits, and the New Mum’s Program, through which the company has educated over five million pregnant and new mothers on hygienic practices to protect them during the pre- and post- phases of their pregnancies.
The MoU and Dettol’s Clean Naija Initiative comes at a time when a lot of people in Nigeria are exposed to communicable diseases – with children being the most susceptible. The program is expected to contribute to individual-led behaviour change that improves public health nationwide.